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Play other music on Anglo G/C


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Hi all,

I've been playing the oboe for a number of years. Due to medical problems, I'm not really able to continue playing a high resistance wind instrument anymore and am looking for something else.

My music theory is on the more basic side of things but I'm competent enough at muscle memory to be able to play when I've learned the notes. I play almost exclusively for relaxation on my own.

My uncle would play a lot of Irish trad music and has offered me an old concertina to fill the musical void and is going to teach me the basics of this.

 

I'd be very keen to see if I could maybe keep playing some classical and some modern pop songs (Ed Sheeran, Adele, etc.).

 

Is this possible or would it be unrealistically difficult for this instrument to be played that way?

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People have played every kind of music on every system of concertina. There are exceptions to every generalization/rule my beloved colleagues are about to lay on you (e.g. one tune I play on C/G anglo is in Bb minor). A good musical friend was going for professional oboist in her youth and was taken out by focal dystonia. She is now an amazing Irish whistle player.

 

The family connection is valuable - go for it. Many of us wish we had one. You can learn the Irish tunes and take it farther afield. Welcome to the madness.

 

Ken

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I am no big fan of Ed Sheeran and Adele myself, so I don’t have that much experience with that sort of music, but a three row C/G anglo has every note in a chromatic octave at least once, meaning you can play almost anything on it. Traditionally it would be used for jigs, reels, etc. etc. but I find it no more difficult to play ‘Summer Nights’ or ‘Wake Me Up’ than ‘Garryowen’ or ‘English Country Garden’. In short, as long as the tune is not ridiculously complicated, it should be possible.

Edited by Squeezebox Of Delights
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I think a lot of the joy of the Anglo is in using it to play tunes it wasn't even remotely designed to play. Even Irish music isn't really what it's "for" - that's just what people use it for because once upon a time, it was a cheap and plentiful instrument, and now it's "traditional". So now you've got a bunch of people using a diatonic instrument in C and G to play fiddle tunes in D and A. It's absurd, but that's just a part of the fun. It's chromatic for enough of a range that you can play all manner of things - sometimes you just have to be a bit clever about it.

Edited by Mjolnir
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If you look at the music in very early 19th C. Anglo tutors, they're about evenly split between dance tunes, music hall songs, and hymns. I think it was always meant to be able to play a wide range of "genres".

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listen to the performance by Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne in his degree recital to hear what can be done on anglo.

 

Edited by Theo
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Clearly, there are limitations on what an Anglo can do, primarily in terms of keys. But that doesn't mean you can't play all kinds of cool music on one.

 

ALthough primarily a Morris, ceilidh and contra player, about 10 years ago I started playing some jazz and pop, mostly through my playing with English concertina master Randy Stein.  "Blame it on the Bossa Nova" turns out to be a really fun concertina tune.  Lately I've been exploring Basque tunes, and I've been intrigued by some of the interesting acoustic music coming out of France, Belgium and the Scandinavian countries, and just learned and posted a long Riccardo Tesi piece.

 

So yeah, you can do a lot with an Anglo. Just not in every key.

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